Like many other language learners I love collecting and shopping for textbooks! When buying ANYTHING one of the first things I do is look at the reviews but sometimes it’s hard to decide which is best if there are a dearth of reviews so I want to help others make their decision by writing this one! I bought these two books about a month ago after reading a few reviews that were(with the exception of one) good in terms of the textbooks quality(keep in mind most of these reviews were from already experienced learners). With that being said lets dive into it shall we!
First and foremost the book is split up into 7 Units consisting of 4 parts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Culture. Part 1&2 focus on speaking and introduces new grammar points along with vocabulary. However in the first unit no grammar is introduced for the sake of teaching the learner hangul. [For Parts 1&2]Unit 2 and on includes 5 new grammar points, a dialogue, a partnered exercise and some alternate phrases that aren’t included in the dialogue. All of the dialogues are recorded on the CD that comes with the book and the entire CD is almost entirely in korean, which is a plus. I have to say that the grammar explanations aren’t like other textbooks that give heavy explanations, instead it cuts straight to the chase but sometimes a more in-depth explanation can be useful. For most people these simplified grammar explanations would be a god-sent but personally it never seizes to confuse me due to my analytical nature. Another thing I dislike about this textbook is the amount of loose vocabulary words introduced WITHOUT teaching conjugation until the 4th unit. If one didn’t know any better they would mistakenly say something like 거짓말을 하다습니다 and wouldn’t find out until their close to the end of the book that the correct saying is 거짓말을 했습니다.
Part 3 focuses on listening, reading and writing. One page contains writing exercises such as answering multiple choice questions or fill in the blank responses. The other page contains listening exercises(to be used in conjunction with the accompanying CD). I usually just fill in the answers without the aid of the CD’s due to laziness since there are only 3 questions. I can’t find any fault with anything in this section besides the appearance of random words that are not incorporated in future dialogues. And incase you were wondering yes, answers are included in the back of the book.
Last but not least there’s the culture section at the end of each Unit! These are my favorite parts of the book, in my opinion they introduce interesting and useful facts about Korea and its people over a wide range of topics. Inside this section also includes short passages(only a paragraph long at most) of literary pieces. Depending on what the topic is about quite a few new words will be introduced such as simple onomatopoeic animal sounds or words that describe emotions.
• Good quality CD recordings
• Lots of useful phrases and expressions
• Light & Compact
• Includes an answer key
• Interesting content
• Skimp grammar explanations
• Introduces a multitude of loose out-of-context vocabulary
Final Thoughts :
I wouldn’t recommend these as a stand alone first textbook but if used with another textbook or grammar book it can be a pretty good learning resource.